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Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Is Really About The Kids

While Father's Day may be over for those of us on the East coast, I'm sure many of us dads are still pondering the day's events, while dads on the West coast may very well still be enjoying some family festivities.  Whether you're a father, a mother, a mother that's also a father, or just a curious soul, I'd like to share some thoughts about the future of our world: our youth and the role of fathers.

For Father's Day, I got the neatest little time piece.  Admittedly, this gift was quite compelling and I had to choke back some tears.  As the man of the house, I try to stay strong for the family, even when I may be breaking down inside.  That's what we REAL men do, right?

This gift was truly touching and I hope I really expressed my gratitude (sometimes we forget to really be sincere and let loose, be a little vulnerable, when it really counts).  I sometimes feel that my family does not appreciate my work or even listen to me.  Being a creative engineer, as I like to call it, it's hard to explain the urgency of your life's work (as Stephen R Covey would say, First Things First) and get others to buy into it.

"You'd be surprised to find out who has been listening when you finally stop to listen yourself." 

Apparently, someone was paying attention.  I'm an organizational nut, sometimes to a fault, so things like notepads, writing/drawing utensils, organizers, whiteboards, reference books, etcetera, etcetera..  These are the things that truly excite me (I'm a geek, after all).  The time piece came with a simple inscription stating "The Greatest Dad".  Wow..  Did THAT tug on my heart strings.

Call me transparent, call me crazy, but I'd like to share another, more intimate, reason why this gift did it for me.  My dad abandoned my family at possibly the worst time in our lives.  Yes, there's some resentment there.  His abrupt departure became such a strain for the family, even though the writing was on the wall for many, many years.  He was a cheat, a liar, a user and abuser (or at least these were the behaviors that resurfaced all too often)...  The list goes on and on. 

In a way, I've always yearned for that elusive father figure yet not having that made me stronger, self-sufficient, and more independent.  I can thank him for having such a strong character and thirst for knowledge, at the very least.  I can appreciate the need to model others and be a role model to others.  I definitely missed a big part of my childhood.  Certainly, I don't think it put me at a disadvantage, but it definitely made me work much harder.

Guys like my dad give us good dads (or half-decent dads, in my case) a bad rep.  Quite often, we have to pay the dues of previous fathers and father figures.  It's a rough world out there.  Father's Day had no meaning for me until I got to really experience being a father.  This changed everything and I wonder where I'd be if I did not open up my arms and my heart to what, really, is a life of sacrifice and selflessness.

Now, before some of you give me the obligatory speeches and Hallmark responses, believe me, I tried to re-connect with my dad.  I tried to mend the broken bonds.  I forgave the unforgivable.  I even gave him a "World's Greatest Dad" coffee mug (he was always a coffee fanatic, something I likely got from him too) at one point to see if he'd rise to the occasion.  No dice.

As you can see, this simple gift brought so many emotions to surface.  Someone was listening.  Someone cares.  This gave me some added pepper to my step.  It's been a super productive and inspirational day, thanks to the simple little things the kids did for me today.  I have a renewed perspective and urgency.  I feel blessed.

"It's always the simple little things that create ripples in our souls."

Thinking about my recent experience, an experience far apart from previous ones, I've realized that Father's Day is about the kids.  They're our future and we need to make sure we learn from history but don't repeat the mistakes.  It's easy to get caught up in negative emotion and everyday life worries but, if you let it consume you, you may miss a moment just like this one I just shared.  Don't do that.  Don't wait for a holiday to remind you of what you have and what really matters.  We father figures quite often set the tone for our households, good or bad.

"If you kids are out there, thank you for keeping us adults in check.. That said, I'd like to think most of us want the best for you so listen up to those nagging sessions - it's a drag, I know, but it's well worth it!"

Really, his isn't merely about Father's Day..  It's about making every day a family day.  Let's make it happen.

Never miss a moment.


Pioneer Outfitters said...


Your words, you sharing those details of your life, gives hope where some may think there is none. I grew up without a father as well.

One of the most precious things in my life, in our lives ~ my children's and mine, came from something that crushes so many families, is my ex and his not so new anymore, wife. They are a couple of my closest and dearest friends. We are family.

Father's Day is a day given to us, to remind us how important we are to each other. He is Daddy. She is Momma Dannie. It's only a reminder.

And you are so right! Every moment spent with negatives and dark feelings are wasted. Maybe not the fuel, if you can use it, but what you miss while immersed in something that usually does nothing but hurt.

I am excited to see this new site, Yomar. Very open and bright feeling, like a new day.

~Amber-Lee (Alaska Chick)

Yomar said...

I'm so glad that my little "thinking out loud" piece could touch some people, especially so soon!

I can relate to you in many ways. I had a father there for most of my years and yet I did not.. I often wonder if it is better to note have a father figure in our lives than it is to just have one that really doesn't take his/her role seriously...

I love this part of what you said:

"And you are so right! Every moment spent with negatives and dark feelings are wasted. Maybe not the fuel, if you can use it, but what you miss while immersed in something that usually does nothing but hurt."

We can choose to be victims or we can learn from everything life brings our way and let it empower us. Family is hugely important. Family values do not end with bloodlines, either. It's about the principles and core values we embrace and put into action everyday.

I like Stephen R. Covey's take on this all. He believes in character development over personality development. Even though his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, people still don't get it. Character takes time to develop, but it gives us a greater purpose and reminds us that everyone and everything matters.

A good character keeps us in check, avoiding zombie-like thinking and silly assumptions. So, to those father figures out there that have learned this, I tip my hat to you. It's really hard to rise above all the negativity and misdirection in the world. Certainly, it takes great persistence and perseverance!

I hope many have come to these realizations this past Father's Day.. Heck, every day is a learning opportunity!

...So, when are you joining our humble little editorial team, Amber? I love your way with words and your perspective is always so full of energy!

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